Our team name is For the Love of Bella. The name just fits. It fits the way that Bella fit into my life.. perfectly.
This is our second year walking in the March of Dimes, and I'm really glad that we did. I'm not the most organized person in the world, but I really am working on it. Last year we arrived a little late to the walk, but this year we improved and made it on time! I did stay up until midnight the night before making sure that our tshirts would be ready, but that'll be something I'll work on next year. *fingers crossed* I'll actually get the shirts done in advance and avoid myself a lot of stress. Anywhoo, we arrived on time and we actually started the walk from the starting point, which was really cute because they played music while all the family teams started their walk. In total it's 6 miles, which isn't bad because I'd be willing to walk a million miles for Bella. It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining, and the view was great.
Before the walk started, a mother got up on stage to talk about her reason for walking. She talked about how all three of her children were born premature. She explained that her second child had been diagnosed with a form of spina bifida while she was pregnant and passed away on the day she was born. She explained how folic acid helped her to have a healthy little girl after that, and how grateful she is for all the research that the March of Dimes does for these babies.
It all got me thinking. She described what it felt like to have your child whisked away to the NICU right after being born. That helpless, horrible feeling. That feeling that I, too, have known. It just hit so close to home because here she was feeling just as robbed as I did; feeling just as disappointed as I've felt. The only difference was that she had moved forward. She seemed so determined. I'm still in a place of confusion. A place where the light at the end of the tunnel seems so far, far away.
I feel cheated. I feel robbed. I know that everything has it's reasoning behind it. I know that the truth is that most of the time when things happen we won't truly understand why. I just wish there was some way to understand even a little bit. Some way to know that I'm not just a horrible person being punished for something I might've done wrong in this life or in a past life. I never had morning sickness. I didn't feel achy or cranky or irritated. I didn't have the luxury to be able to complain about a big round Belly because we didn't make it that far. I didn't have someone to decide on her name with. On the day Bella was born my mother was in the delivery room with me. I decided on her middle name alone; quickly without much thought because I just needed to get discharged in order to go see her. I didn't get to hold her right away, until 6 weeks after she was born. I drove myself home from the hospital after I had her, and then straight to Oakland to see her. I was told by her surgeon that she'd never walk in words that could've been easily reciting the weather instead of my daughters future. And you know what scares me the most? That I feel as though this has all turned into simply I didn't get to... I find myself feeling that way a lot. I feel like I'm only thinking about me, me, and me. Bella was the one that despite it all, fought with every ounce of strength she had. She was the one that, despite being born early, used every ounce of her strength to cry. She came into this world as deterermined as could be. She, at 3 lbs 8 oz, endured a major surgery that most people would never even be able to fathom. Bella is and will always be my hero. So, as I go down this list of 'I didn't get to's' and 'I'll never be able to's' I can't help but think of how much I don't have a right to complain. I can't help but realize that I've witnessed a miracle; that I've been blessed. I'm the mother of an angel.
So as we walked for the love of Bella, I couldn't help but to feel proud of our journey. I felt proud of walking in the March of Dimes. I felt proud of being Bella's mom. And next year, we'll walk again because the hope is that someday, no one else will have to go through what we went through. That every baby will be born healthy. That no mother will have to experience the pain of having to say goodbye to soon, or have to sit in a NICU for weeks because their child was born too early or with a birth defect. Someday. Someday.
Bella had a mission and I believe from the bottom of my heart that she fulfilled it. She taught us about unconditional love and compassion, patience and determination. She opened my eyes to a whole new world. Bella made my world a better place, and I hope to someday make someone else's world better too, because of her.
I love you Lovebug, and not a single day goes by that I don't miss you more than yesterday. You are, and will forever be, my pride and joy.